Since the day ten mega infrastructure projects were rolled out in phases as scheduled, the Hong Kong construction industry has been faced with several problems such as acute labor shortage and labor mobility. Although there are more and more young people joining the construction industry, their lack of experience is likely bring serious safety problem.
It’s known that access control system has been widely used but commonly its function is no more than recording attendances of workers and it can’t be utilized for safety management. Since there are no effective management methods, on most construction sites, manual approaches are still employed to monitor the flow of manpower in restricted areas or rooms. The demand of a more efficient, convenient and smarter system for workforce management and restricted area monitoring is the catalyst of this innovation.
The system named “Eye on Project” (EOP) is based on the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. The RFID readers adopted in our system operate in ultra-high frequency (UHF) bands, which have a 12-meter ranging distance in indoor settings. Construction site managers can assess the system through a website or a mobile app. This system consists of two major function modules:
1) Helmet pairing
RFID tags will be labelled on the inner side of safety helmets first. Before a worker enters the construction site, his/her helmet needs to be paired with the staff card through the pairing module, which is installed at the site entrances. The system will automatically update safety helmet pairing records every day. Site managers can access pairing records in real time through the website or the mobile app.
2) Restricted areas management
This module relies on the data obtained through the helmet paring module. First of all, several UHF RFID readers are installed around a restricted area. All the matching information is stored in the database of the system backend and can be accessed or reset through the website. A site manager can grant workers permission into the restricted area and while other workers may be forbidden to enter. When a worker walks into the restricted area intentionally or unintentionally, at least one of the RFID readers covering this area can read the RFID tag on his/her safety helmet and transmit the tag ID to the system backend, then the system will examine if this worker is authorized to enter this area. If an unauthorized worker enters the area, the alarm light on the RFID reader will light and sound, and the system will push a message to the website and the mobile app, allowing site managers to get the information in real time.
In contrast with the palm-print based access control system widely adopted in construction, a cheap helmet pairing module is needed. The helmet paring system is used to record a specific worker’s staff card ID and bind it with the safety helmet he/she wears in the database. Furthermore, the RFID-based system is extended to serve other demands. This system enables a more effective and convenient method to monitor the restricted areas. In addition, a specifically developed mobile app allows managers to access real-time information.